Nighthawks has been a sta­ple of home video from the VHS era on but it’s tak­en a while to get a blu-ray release.  Shout! Factory has answered the call for this title by releas­ing it as part of their Shout Select.  The result is a nice “spe­cial edi­tion” treat­ment with extras that also cor­rects a long-prob­lem­at­ic audio issue for this title.

nhawks-bluThe trans­fer uti­lized here cap­tures the film’s grit­ty look nice­ly, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the fre­quent night sce­nes and dark inte­ri­ors.  Color also jumps out in a new way in some spots: for exam­ple, look at the inte­ri­or of the fash­ion shop where Lindsay Wagner’s char­ac­ter works.  The loss­less audio offers a 2.0 pre­sen­ta­tion of the orig­i­nal mono mix and it sounds nice for a sin­gle chan­nel mix, with a nice bass boost to Keith Emerson’s score.  Fans will be hap­py to know that this pre­sen­ta­tion of the film has all the music intact, includ­ing the oft-omit­ted use of the Stones’ “Brown Sugar” dur­ing the dis­co scene.

Since this is part of the Shout Select line, it comes with a series of extras.  Here’s a break­down of what is includ­ed:

Herb Nana inter­view (16:10): this is an audio record­ing of a chat with Stallone’s for­mer per­son­al man­ager, who served as a pro­duc­er on this film.  He reveals he was the one who sug­gest­ed Rutger Hauer for the vil­lain role and gets into the thorny issues of stu­dio re-edit­ing on the film and the dis­missal of its first direc­tor, Gary Nelson. As you might imag­ine, he speaks about Stallone and his work with great fond­ness.

James Contner inter­view (24:37):  the film’s direc­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy weighs in on a num­ber of top­ics.  He offers his own account of the “Stallone vs. Nelson” dis­putes, prais­es Hauer and talks about doing a stunt of his own to cap­ture a point-of-view shot for the cable car scene.  He also a very inter­est­ing anec­dote about a con­flict with Stallone dur­ing the shoot.

Lindsay Wagner inter­view (10:29): She talks about how this role began her post–Bionic Woman career and laments the stu­dio edit­ing that took out sev­er­al sce­nes she had with Stallone, whose work she com­pli­ments.  There’s also some inter­est­ing mate­ri­al about she almost pur­sued a singing career around this time.


Catherine Mary Stewart inter­view (4:24): the cult fave actress packs a lot into a few min­utes here.  She rem­i­nisces about her first impres­sion of Stallone, the inten­si­ty of Hauer and his clev­er act­ing tech­nique and her embar­rass­ment at the bad dub­bing she was sub­ject­ed to in the final ver­sion of the film.

Paul Sylbert inter­view (9:49): Sylbert is bet­ter known as a pro­duc­tion design­er but he also wrote a few scripts.  He gets into the sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences between the orig­i­nal script he wrote and the fin­ished ver­sion, how he came up with idea and the inspi­ra­tions for dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters and plot ele­ments.  He relays it all with a sub­tly acidic sense of humor.

Randy Jurgensen (10:50): the film’s tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant reveals he was orig­i­nal­ly sup­posed to play the role that Joe Spinell plays in the film. His oth­er com­ments are devot­ed to the tur­bu­lent nature of the pro­duc­tion, includ­ing his ver­sion of Nelson’s dis­missal and his dis­agree­ments with the film­mak­ers about the end­ing.

Additional Extras: a full-frame the­atri­cal trail­er, three radio spots and an image gallery with tons of stills.


To read Schlockmania’s film review of Nighthawks, click here.